xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Freddy Galvis thriving as Orioles’ best hitter for past month while battling groin injury

When the Orioles last played in front of a sellout crowd at Camden Yards before Saturday, Freddy Galvis went hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times in his first home game with Baltimore as his OPS dropped to .332. But when Galvis exited early in Saturday’s loss to the Boston Red Sox, he did so as the Orioles’ most productive hitter in the month between sellouts.

His second-inning home run into the left-field corner mattered little in an 11-6 defeat, but it marked a continuation of improved performance after the season’s first week. The Orioles signed Galvis to a low-cost, one-year deal this offseason after they traded José Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels for two pitching prospects. Like Iglesias, Galvis is largely outperforming what he had done in his career before joining Baltimore.

Advertisement

Since the Orioles’ April 8 home opener, Galvis is batting .354/.408./.662, leading Baltimore’s position players by at least 50 points in all three of those measures. Even including the first seven games, in which he hit .115, Galvis has never posted a higher OPS through his first 28 games of the season. His 47 total bases are only 10 fewer than he managed in all of 2020.

But also like Iglesias, he finds himself having to manage a nagging injury. Manager Brandon Hyde made clear that although Galvis left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning to get a few innings off with the Orioles down nine at that point, the groin soreness he’s dealing with is not in the same realm as what Iglesias faced in 2020. A shortstop primarily known for his sterling defense, Iglesias dealt with a hamstring injury that cost him a third of the season and pushed him into regular designated hitter duty, though he still hit .373.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“Iggy was on one leg for a lot of the year,” Hyde said. “I was just trying to manage it. He couldn’t play defense a lot of times. Freddy’s isn’t at that point. I want to keep Freddy healthy as much as I can. It’s a cold night. He was playing defense for three-quarters of the game so far, it seemed.

“It’s something we’re going to be managing. He’s a pro, and we communicate daily about it.”

Galvis, who missed the final four games of April with the injury, was in the lineup for Sunday’s game, and Hyde said the decision to pull him in Saturday’s sixth inning would be important that to happen. His absence would cost the Orioles’ lineup its second-most productive hitter by OPS.

Although each of his three hits in the season’s first week came on fastballs, Galvis said it was an ability to hit those pitches that gave him early troubles. He entered Saturday batting .385 off fastballs since April 9, according to MLB Statcast data. His home run Saturday came off a curveball by Garrett Richards.

Advertisement

“I think I’m sticking with my plan and trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Galvis said. “At the beginning of the season, I was missing a lot of fastballs, like, right in the zone. Right now, I’m putting a good swing to the baseball, especially to the fastballs, and I’m getting good results.”

Before first being removed with the groin injury April 26, Galvis had been the Orioles’ shortstop for all but three innings in 2021. They lack depth at the position behind him, with most of their prospects who they hope will be capable of manning the position with regularity being in the lower minors.

About a month into the season, Galvis’ signing has proven unexpectedly valuable for the Orioles. The same could be said of keeping him on the field.

“I’ve been feeling really good right now, trying to stick with my approach, with the plan that I have,” Galvis said. “I’m getting good results. Try to stay there, try to keep working hard, and just let it happen.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement